ED BRODSKY, Republican
BIRTHPLACE: Toledo, Ohio
FAMILY: Wife, Kim Brodsky; Two children, Evan, 14, and Alexa, 11
EDUCATION: Associate of Arts in criminal justice, St. Petersburg Jr. College; Bachelor of Arts in criminology, University of South Florida; and a Juris Doctorate, Nova University Law School
PROFESSIONAL CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Currently serving as the chief assistant state attorney overseeing our four offices in the three counties we serve, Manatee, DeSoto, and Sarasota counties. Formerly served as the chief assistant overseeing our Manatee County office and have also served as a felony division chief overseeing a felony trial division. Also have previously served as a child sex crimes/major crimes prosecutor. I am board certified by the Florida Bar in criminal trial and currently serve on the Sarasota Criminal Justice Commission.
FUN FACT: I’m a big dog lover, and I have a Weimaraner named Mason
What specific attributes do you bring to this office that make you the best candidate to lead the state attorney’s office?
I am a career-long prosecutor having spent 20 years with the State Attorney’s Office learning all aspects of the office. I began my career handling misdemeanor, criminal traffic and juvenile offenses. I was then promoted to felonies. I was then promoted to the Child Sex Crimes/Major Crimes division, concentrating on prosecuting sex crimes involving children 11 years or younger. I have supervised a felony trial division, our Manatee County office and now all four of our offices in the three counties.
I also have served on the Public Safety Coordinating Council, and I currently serve on the Sarasota Criminal Justice Commission, working every day on the policies and procedures being implemented in our community, courts and judicial system. I believe my experience as an administrator and as a prosecutor in the courtrooms distinguishes me from my opponent.
Please describe how you would focus your time as the top executive of an operation with 170 employees and a $9.5 million annual budget?
To serve our community, we must work collectively as a team to provide the very best level of service to law enforcement, victims of crime and the public. Ensuring that our prosecutors are highly trained, capable, responsive, dedicated, and operating with the highest standards of professional conduct are paramount to me. As the elected state attorney, I pledge to remain constant in my efforts to be responsive to the needs of our community and to law enforcement so that we may provide only the highest level of service.
If elected, how would you change, if at all, the allocation of the state attorney’s annual budget and personnel?
Our prosecutors battling crime in the courtrooms and working side-by-side with our law enforcement partners are our greatest asset. So, I believe it’s vital we do everything to protect our number of prosecutors, and increase the number and not allow it to diminish. To achieve that, support services and staff must be examined, along with a re-examination of all areas of our budget. We currently operate on 2007 funding levels, and I remain committed to providing maximum benefit to our community and being good stewards of your tax dollars.
If elected, what will you make the top priorities of the state attorney’s office?
To strengthen our gang prosecution, I’ll continue to partner with the Statewide Prosecutor’s office. We must increase the number of prosecutors who specialize in gang prosecution so that we eradicate all gang-related crimes.
I also believe it’s important to specialize in white-collar crime and exploitation of the elderly cases. It’s important to have highly skilled prosecutors tackling those cases. I will also ensure that career criminal, habitual offenders and violent offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent.
We must also be committed to being responsive to the needs of law enforcement and the community to address all quality-of-life crimes that bring down our quality of life, such as battling the prescription pill epidemic and the scourge of metal theft recyclers. In Sarasota, I believe Newtown must be a priority.
What do you believe is the best approach for prosecuting individuals arrested for possession and use of illegal drugs?
I support identifying non-violent, low-risk offenders for placement into substance-abuse treatments such as the program we operate through the courts, or Drug Court. If we can treat an addict, we return to our community and to their family, a crime-free and productive member of our society.
How would you describe the proper relationship between the region’s law-enforcement departments and the state attorney’s office?
The state attorney’s office shares with law enforcement a common purpose of serving and protecting our community. We serve law enforcement and victims of crimes by making their voice heard in the courtroom. It is critical that our offices have a mutual respect and understanding of each other’s respective roles in the criminal-justice system.
What is your philosophy toward seeking plea bargains or going to trial?
In all cases, a defendant is advised of the sentence the state attorney’s office is seeking in a criminal case pending against a defendant. In many instances, the state is able to reach a sentencing resolution that is amicable to our office, the victim and/or law enforcement and which allows the defendant an opportunity to resolve his or her case without the necessity of a trial. Jury trials usually result due to a lack of agreement between the parties on an appropriate sentence or the desire of a defendant to exercise his or her right to a jury trial. If all parties concerned are satisfied with an agreed-upon resolution of a criminal case, then a plea should be acceptable. However, in instances of a violent or serious crime, or a case against a defendant with a lengthy criminal history, often an agreement cannot be reached due to the length of sentence the state is seeking. Likewise, a defendant may decline to entertain any plea offer, opting instead to have a jury trial.
What is your vision for the state attorney’s office?
My vision is to make the state attorney’s office the very best that it can be. That we do everything we can to ensure the enjoyment and quality of life in Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties. I believe it’s important that we aggressively prosecute and demonstrate zero tolerance for those who commit crimes of violence involving firearms or any other dangerous weapons.
I would also like to see highly trained attorneys litigating our cases in the courtroom; we owe it to our communities, our victims and law enforcement to put the best prosecutors in the courtrooms fighting for justice.
PHOTO GALLERY: Willis' 'December in Our Town'
Third-grade students at Willis Elementary School welcomed the holiday season with a special musical show, "December in Our Town," Dec. 12 and Dec. 13.
State announces Sarasota County dropout, graduation rates
According to the Florida Department of Education, the Sarasota County Schools dropout rate improved over last year, while the graduation rate ticked downward.
PHOTO GALLERY: Sarasota Kiwanis Club Induction
The Sarasota Kiwanis Club inducted eight new members Friday, Dec. 13. The inductees are the first group of new members since the club’s new-member drive that started in early November. In order to build camaraderie, new members will work together on a community focused project in the New Year.
PHOTO GALLERY: YPG Winter Wonderland
The Sarasota Young Professionals Group got in the holiday spirit Thursday, Dec. 12, at its Winter Wonderland after-hours event at Art Center Sarasota. Guests socialized and enjoyed food and drink as well as holiday décor.
13 Holidays around the Ranch
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
13 Holidays Around the Ranch-Lakewood Ranch
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
13 Cirque Des Voix "Joy and Wonder"
7:00 pm - 5:00 pm
14 FREE Pictures with Santa Cow!
8:00 am - 10:30 am
14 Free Spirograph Art Event For The Kids
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
14 Green Tara Empowerment
14 Gingerbread Houses
14 Cat Depot: Leashwalking
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm